Garlic, CoQ10, fish oil and folic acid have long been recognized as natural remedies for helping to normalize blood pressure, but newer ingredients backed by strong science are also making inroads.
TensVida from DSM Nutritional Products, Inc., headquartered in the Netherlands, is a dairy tripeptide. “Milk proteins contain angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory peptides encrypted within their primary structures,” explained Bob Berman, senior marketing manager, new business development. “While lactotripeptides are present in normal dairy products, they are inactive within the original milk protein. To become effective, these peptides first need to be released through enzymatic pre-digestion.”
The best characterized peptides, he said, are found in fermented milk and are peptides with the amino acid sequence isoleucine–proline–proline (IPP), and valine–proline–proline (VPP). “About 20 human studies have been published linking the consumption of products containing lactotripeptides (here defined as IPP and VPP) with significant reductions in both SBP and DBP.”
DSM uses advanced enzymatic hydrolysis to release the maximum effectiveness of these potent bioactive tripeptides to produce the highest concentration of lactotripeptides for heart health formulations. TensVida contains IPP, at a concentration of 1.5%. TensVida was clinically proven to reduce systolic blood pressure by 3.8 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 2.3 mmHg in mildly hypertensive people (Boelsma E., Kloek J. IPP-rich milk protein hydrolysate lowers blood pressure in subjects with stage 1 hypertension. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr., submitted for publication).
That study dovetails nicely with other research studies, which indicated that a systolic blood pressure reduction of 3-5 mmHg can lead to a 15% decrease in the risk of stroke and a 10% decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease (Whelton et al. (2002) JAMA 1882-1888).
“Meta-analyses have shown efficacy for lactotripeptides with daily doses from 3 to 52 mg of IPP and VPP,” said Mr. Berman. “We recommend a dosage of 350-1000 mg of tensVida per day, which translates to 5-15 mg of IPP per day.”
TensVida was launched by DSM in early 2008 and has garnered both the 2008 FIE Gold Award and the 2009 NutrAward for the most innovative, evidence-based health and nutrition ingredient.
The Power of Grapes
MegaNatural BP by Polyphenolics of Madera, CA, is another noteworthy human-clinical-backed blood pressure management ingredient. After having evolved out of the company’s MegaNatural Gold white grape seed extract, the company partnered with University of California Davis and spent nearly four years studying the properties of MegaNatural BP and found it to have a much more pronounced effect on the endothelium-dependent relaxation of blood vessels and more up-regulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) than other grape seed extracts.
The biggest application, explained Dr. Anil Shrikhande, president of Polyphenolics, was in the pre-hypertension range. “So many people fall into this category. This is where we wanted something for prevention as opposed to a cure when it becomes a higher blood pressure,” he said.
High blood pressure is also one of the characteristics of metabolic syndrome, a condition that effects approximately 40% of adults in the U.S. Considered a risk factor for both coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome is diagnosed when at least three of five conditions are present: abdominal obesity, insulin resistance (impaired glucose tolerance), low serum HDL, elevated serum triglycerides, and an elevated blood pressure. Metabolic syndrome was the area the company focused on next.
“We did a pilot study addressing metabolic syndrome and found that 150 and 300 mgs of MegaNatural BP reduced the blood pressure around 8-10 on the systolic side and 6-8 on the diastolic,” said Dr. Shrikhande. “We then looked at oxidized LDL, which accumulates in arteries and creates lesions that build into exo-sclerosis. 300 mg showed us much more decreased oxidized LDL. It was then we decided that the product could be a very good protector of the heart.”
A study published in the July 16th issue of Metabolism Clinical and Experimental indicates that the use of MegaNatural BP grape seed extract in conjunction with lifestyle modification may effectively lower blood pressure in patients with metabolic syndrome. Patients with metabolic syndrome are also encouraged to increase their exercise levels, lose weight, eat more healthfully and stop smoking.
The placebo-controlled trial was undertaken with 24 subjects with metabolic syndrome that documented the blood pressure lowering effect of MegaNatural BP grape seed extract. Two dosage levels (150 mg/day and 300 mg/day) and a placebo were given to three groups of eight patients, respectively. After one month of treatment, there was a significant reduction in blood pressure in both groups given MegaNatural BP. There was no change in the group given the placebo. Also, subjects given 300 mg of MegaNatural BP had a significant decrease in the concentration of oxidized LDL in plasma.
The company has also published a previous study in the Journal of Clinical Science (“Mechanism of the endothelium-dependent relaxation evoked by a grape seed extract,” 11 Oct 2007), and a third study pertaining to MegaNatural BP’s effect on pre-hypertensive patients without metabolic syndrome is being prepared for submission.
Polyphenolics began marketing its MegaNatural BP product in 2007 and it is currently part of several at-market formulations including many GNC products.